On the previous episode of Mythic Quest, we went back in time to learn C.W.’s backstory of how he became a Nebula Award winning author. I thought it was a nice one-off in the vein of “A Dark Quiet Death,” especially considering it could have served as a nice breather following the dramatic turn in Poppy and Ian’s relationship. However, “Backstory!” is really a primer to today’s brilliant episode.
In “Peter,” we return to the present day with C.W. on his way to visit the other living member of the Tripod from Amazing Tales Publishing. He is lured to the home of his colleague with the pretense that the titular character is ready to apologize after all these years but being together rekindles some old and bitter feelings between the two.
It’s great to finally have F. Murray Abraham back in person on Mythic Quest and the episode allows the actor to exhibit his range. We see a darker, meaner and more petty side of C.W. and Abraham demonstrates his comedic timing and delivery with all the awful things he wants to do and does to Peter.
But the emotions are ratcheted up as the day progresses evolving from passive aggressive behavior to full on hostility as the retorts become spiteful between the pair. As much as C.W. was unable to take the criticisms of his work, what eats at him the most is the jealousy that A.E. ended up with Peter and not him.
The episode also provides one of the few opportunities for Abraham to flex his dramatic chops on Mythic Quest as well. The meeting between old friends is orchestrated by Peter’s daughter, and when C.W. learns of his former coworker’s condition, it really puts things in perspective for him and all those squandered years he lost with Peter and A.E. because of his own personal issues. The inappropriate and out of touch office joke shows that he is human and has empathy.
There are many references to last week’s episode that really stir up the feelings. It all begins with the Heinlein “warning,” though C.W. is too drunk to get it at first, to A.E. following through with her lemon seeds in a grandiose way. It shows the Tripod were fortunate to find each other and it’s a little more poignant that despite their drama, they still kept tabs over and are fans of one another including A.E. purchasing a copy of Mythic Quest and C.W. reading all nineteen volumes of Peter’s sci-fi series. It ends in a perfect and sweet way with Peter reading his unpublished 20th volume so his friend can find out the series’ conclusion.
William Hurt is expertly cast with the actor not only pulling off the crotchety old man but also making Peter a nice straight-faced foil to the antics and absurdity of Abraham’s C.W. It’s a real joy to watch the two Oscar winners play off of each other dramatically. Also, Ashly Burch continues to shine as Rachel and she has funny moments explaining away and covering up C.W.’s rude behavior. At least one of them can feel shame and she’s a real trooper while doing a favor. Though I guess she’s the office driver now whenever anyone needs a ride.
“Peter” is a heartwarming conclusion to C.W.’s mini arc which began last week that features rivalries, reflection, and reconciliation.
New episodes of Mythic Quest drop Fridays on Apple TV+.
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